Minister for Justice and Equality, Samantha Sacramento MP, has attended the annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) of the British Islands and Mediterranean and Region of which the Gibraltar Parliament is a member.
This year’s conference was hosted in Stanley by the Falkland Island Legislative Assembly and the theme of the conference was ‘Combating Stereotypes in Small Jurisdictions’ and explored different issues within that theme.
The Conference was extended to the Falkland Island Community as this was the first conference on gender equality in the Falklands.
Minister Sacramento was actively involved in the conference and chaired the opening session as well as a further session the following day, chairing and speaking at a session on mentorship where Minister Sacramento spoke of the Ministry for Equality’s mentorship programme.
Alongside the conference, Minister Sacramento who sits on the CWP regional steering committee, also attended a meeting of the committee.
While in the Falkland Islands, the Minister met with the Island’s Governor Nigel Phillips CBE and had also previously organised to meet with the Attorney General, the Senior Magistrate and the Head of the Prison.
Minister Sacramento commented “The objective of the CWP is principally to achieve better representation of women across legislatures and the furtherance of gender equality across the Commonwealth. This conference has been extremely interesting and relevant to parliamentary business. As a network of women parliamentarians, the CWP annual conference, which is open to all women parliamentarians within our the region, is hugely beneficial as a learning tool and for the sharing of information and best practice. I spoke at length about our Government’s mentorship programme and this information was very well received and I feel encouraged by the requests for information and feedback from many that they wish implement similar programmes to ours.
I also took this opportunity to discuss one of my initiatives to attract more women to Parliament and was able to benefit from some useful conversations on how other Parliaments deal with this; last year I asked the Committee on Parliamentary reform to consider the introduction of maternity and parental leave for Parliamentarians as the absence of any such structure for this may be a deterrent for women considering running for office.
As ever, I will take back what I have learnt for the benefit of furthering gender equality in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar has an excellent relationship with the Falkland Islands. I visited the Falkland Islands for my first CPA conference in 2013 and I have been the leader of our Parliamentary delegations at all CPA conferences since then. Whilst there, I also took the opportunity to build upon existing relationships with members of the Assembly.